Life in the city is fast-paced and exciting, but, the hustle and bustle of big-city living often comes at the expense of community and living space. The country offers plenty of room, views and immediate contact with nature, however, with the beauty comes the bad. The peace and quiet of the country also means fewer opportunities for students, job seekers and entrepreneurs.
Upside of City Living
City residents enjoy a variety of housing types, from townhouses to apartment complexes, housing cooperatives to modern lofts. Communication, via cell phones and internet tend to be more reliable in the city, making it more convenient to live and work. Theaters, museums and dining offer a broad scope of culture and entertainment. City dwellers generally have more access to educational and recreational activities, which also make metropolitan living attractive. Public transportation networks are more prolific, cutting costs and fuel emissions associated with car travel. Urban dwellers have smaller carbon footprints than country dwellers, according to research by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
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Downside of City Living
Densely populated cities can be overwhelming; psychological studies have shown that crowds and mental overstimulation in urban environment increases aggression levels. Air and noise pollution are rife in bustling cities. Housing is at a premium, which causes rent rates to rise, and residents often must live in smaller units with minimal front yard and backyard space. The cost of living is significantly higher, which makes city life more challenging for low- and moderate-income residents. Cities experience higher crime rates and traffic congestion can make traveling to and from daily destinations costly and time consuming.
Open spaces, fresh air and unspoiled spaces are some benefits of country living. Research shows that nature and access to fresh goods have a positive effect on health. The cost of living is typically lower in the countryside. Research by the National Low Income Housing Coalition indicates that workers on minimum wage need to work more hours per week to afford an average city rent. Lower rents in the countryside mean that residents can afford to live in bigger houses with more land when compared to city housing.
Some rural communities have lost more than 10 percent of their population over the last two decades as talented young people flock to cities, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Residents also have limited access to affordable mortgage financing which raises the cost of homeownership in the countryside, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Salaries are around 20 percent lower than in metropolitan areas and unemployment rates are higher. Nationwide, both unemployment and poverty rates are persistent and more widespread in rural areas, although there are large regional variations.
- The Simple Dollar: The City Versus Rural Debate -- Which is the Better Place to Live?
- Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program: Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America
- Finding Dulcinea: Are Cities Bad for You?
- National Low Income Housing Coalition: Hours at Minimum Wage Needed to Afford Rent
- The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Rural Brain Drain
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Rural America at a Glance
- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta: Housing Trends in Rural Areas